FEBRUARY 28th, 2018



Spotlight Feature By: Metal Mom


Welcome to Metaltitans, we are here with Brody Uttley from RIVERS OF NIHIL, Death Metallers out of Pennsylvania, who on March 16 will be releasing “Where Owls Know My Name” via Metal Blade Records.

1. This is your 3rd album, following up 2013 The Conscious Seed of Light, 2015 Monarchy. Tell us what we can expect from the new album compared to previous ones?

Where Owls Know My Name is definitely a much more varied piece than our previous two albums. We really went all out and didn't hold anything back on this record that we wanted to include. New instrumentation, new vocal experimentation, and just a general "newness" were all employed this time around. I feel like on our other releases we were still obsessing with this idea that we were a technical death metal band and that we had to "stay inside of the lines" in order to remain relevant within our tiny community. This record is really just a product of us all getting older and accepting that we really just need to do what makes us happy. In short, this record is the full-blown LSD experience where as our first two records were more of a "first beer" type of scenario. 

2. When did you start laying the ground work for Where Owls Know My Name, and how long did it take to get to the finished CD?

 The first song for Where Owls Know My Name (which coincidentally is the last track on the record) was probably completed sometime around March or April of 2016. From there writing went straight through July of 2017 when we started recording the record at my home studio here in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. I always think that its a fun challenge to see how close we can cut it with writing. I think that writing right up to the time that we record is a cool way to give listeners the most accurate and relevant artistic statement of where we are as a band. "Subtle Change..." was the last song that we wrote for this record, so that might clue people in on what is to come next...

3. Why did you choose that name for the album? A spirit meaning for Owls is the announcer of death, did you look into what Owls are or perceived to be?

The title of the album is referring to the act of going to a place away from the rest of the world where only the nature that surrounds you is aware of your presence, with owls basically symbolizing nature. Self reflection, nostalgia, regret, sadness, and unrest might all be actions and emotions that would take place in this solitary environment. The record is an autumn themed record, so death is definitely a topic that is dealt with in these songs. I'm not sure if the owls are specifically supposed to represent death or not, as I didn't come up with the name (our bassist did.) I assume however that the interpretation of the title is up to each individual.

4. When you are choosing the title, does everyone in the band have some input?

We definitely all COULD have input on a record title if we wanted, but Adam Biggs has historically always come up with really great album titles right off the bat. He is the big conceptual/lyrical guy in the band so we all pretty much trust him to come up with album titles that follow where we are at as a band. Often times he will have an album title even before we start writing, so he's definitely got it on lock!

5. Someone mentioned that your fans will not be ready for this one, explain that?

Well since the record hasn't fully dropped yet I don't want to give any specific secrets away. However, I will say that this record is an entirely new take on the Rivers of Nihil sound. We kept our foundation in place while taking some pretty big risks for a band that has traditionally been classified as a "technical death metal" band. I don't want to come across as sounding cocky at all, because I'm fully aware of what a bunch of clowns we really are, but there are certain moments on this record that I don't think have been seen before in our little subgenre. I'm not talking about the saxophone either, because everyone knows that it has been done before in metal. We just really swung for the fences on this one with odd instrumentation and unconventional approaches to songwriting and sequencing. Some of our fans might be a little taken aback at first over some of the changes, but I think that this record is definitely going to grow on people after a few listens.

6. The lyrics are more personal this time around, more about getting older. Why choose those kinds of lyrics over others?

As I said before, I don't write any of the lyrics, so I can't really say for sure what Adam or Jake were going for when they wrote them. However, I will say that we are all getting older and I feel like age is a pretty relatable topic to most people. After high school it's just a sudden flash and then *boom* you're 30. The passage of time is a fascinating thing because people can interpret it as going fast or slow, but really, it's always moving the same way as always. We have been a band for almost ten years now and a lot has changed in those years, so I feel like writing about the passage of time (even if only in metaphors) is a relevant topic to us at this point.

7. Of all the songs on the album, do you have a personal favourite?

"Subtle Change..." is my personal favorite because it is the most relevant track to where I am as a songwriter. It was the last song that I wrote for the record and I think that it is the most diverse and interesting song that we have ever had as a band, it is also the longest. I'm a big fan of older bands like King Crimson, Yes, early Genesis, and Gentle Giant, so this song is basically my attempt at fusing those less conventional influences into our already existing sound.

8. Cool artwork for the album, who created it?

Dan Seagrave did the art on this record and on all of our other records. He totally understands our vision and he's never delivered a disappointing result. Very happy to have him on the team.

9. You are soon heading out on tour with Dying Fetus, almost a month of dates - looking forward to it?

Definitely! We toured with Dying Fetus briefly back in 2013 during the release of our first album. Five years later we are back on tour with them during the release of our third record. They're obviously a legendary band and we are honored to be heading out with them again.

10. How many of the songs will you perform from the new album?

Probably two new songs on this run. We don't want to overwhelm people with too much of the new stuff, especially considering that we are an opening band. Definitely expect a few new tunes though!

11.  In April, you are heading over to do New England Metal Hardcore Festival, are you excited for this, and how did you get on it?

It should be a good time for sure. We have played NEMH three times before this I believe. Our agent got us added to the bill since the rest of the Dying Fetus tour package is playing the fest as well. Looking forward to it.

12. Tell us something about the band that some of us might not know?

Our original drummer's name was Ron (who also formed the band initially), and our bands initials are "R.O.N." so we always got teased about it back in the day.

13. Is there anything you would like to add to the interview?

Our new record is coming out on March 16th via Metal Blade Records. We have lots of really sick preorder packages available for purchase over on our Indie merch Store site. Be sure to stop by and snag something! Here is the link: https://www.indiemerch.com/riversofnihil/pre-orders

Thank you or taking the time to do this interview for Metaltitans, we wish you much success with “Where Owls Know My Name”, and your upcoming tour.

Thanks for having me!